The Darkness proved yesterday they are no novelty rock band when they won one of the music industry's most prestigious songwriting awards.
The group, who swept the Brits earlier this year, were named songwriters of the year at the "Ivors" - named for composer, Ivor Novello - which recognise the cream of songwriting talent. Justin Hawkins, the band's lead singer, said: ''This is the biggest award you can get if you write your own songs.
"We've always wanted to get something like this but didn't expect to be in this position now. Now we've got here we're not going to let it go. This is wonderful.''
Amy Winehouse, the 20-year-old singer songwriter who has been hailed as the new voice of jazz, won the award for best contemporary song for her ballad "Stronger Than Me". She beat the rapper Dizzee Rascal and Kylie Minogue. "I think it's important to write your own material," said Winehouse, who wrote the songs about her ex-boyfriend. "If you want me to respect you as a musician, just be different. I don't pride myself as being a great singer, I pride myself on being different.''
The Motown legends Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland, whose 70 top 10 hits include "Baby Love", "You Can't Hurry Love" and "Stop! In The Name Of Love" won a special international award.
Radiohead were presented with an award for international achievement. Philip Selway, a member of the band, said: "This whole circus begins with people writing music. It's not really about image.''
"Mad World", the theme song to the film Donnie Darko , which was last year's Christmas No 1, won the award for best-selling British single. The recording was a cover of the 1982 hit by Tears For Fears.
IVOR NOVELLO WINNERS
Best song musically and lyrically: : "Leave Right Now", by Francis White
Best contemporary song: "Stronger Than Me" by Amy Winehouse, Salaam Remi
Best original music for television: Broadcast for Young Visiters, by Nicholas Hooper
Dance award: "Strict Machine," by Alison Goldfrapp, William Gregory, Nick Batt
Best original film score: Max, by Dan Jones
Most performed work: "Superstar," by Mich Hansen, Joseph Belmaati, Remee Sigvardt
International hit of the year: "White Flag," by Dido Armstrong, Rollo Armstrong, Rick Nowels
Best selling UK single: "Mad World," by Roland Orzabal
Classical music award: Sir Richard Rodney Bennett
Outstanding song collection: 10cc
International achievement: Radiohead
Outstanding contribution: Errol Brown
Songwriters of the year: The Darkness
Special international award: Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, Eddie Holland
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